Black Jeans – No Belt Required!

These are the 3rd pair of jeans I’ve made for myself using the pattern I made from following the Craftsy Jeanius course. I was really pleased with the make up of my second pair but the fit was not what I was hoping for, they were looser around the bottom and thigh than the first pair and I still had gaping at the back waist even after changing to a shaped waistband.

jeans front

Unfortunately black doesn’t photograph well and you can’t see much detail


I found that I had too much ease on the back leg creating horizontal wrinkles at the back of the thighs. I adjusted the pattern by cutting and slashing horizontally from the outer edge to the inner edge and taking out the excess, I did this in two places and took out around 2cm. I also took out another 1.5cm from the top edge of the waistband pattern – 3cm in total. I took this out from the back of the waistband only as that was where I needed the extra shaping.

jeans side

Before I cut the fabric I measured the pattern against the Levis I had originally copied. I found I needed to shave some of the width of the hips and thighs.

So the result-  I have finally made a pair of jeans with a great fit around the waist – no belt needed, perfect fit around the bottom and thighs and no stupid mistakes like cutting the inside leg just that tiny bit too short.

back waist on jeans

No gaping at the back waist!


After sewing up the inside leg seams I tacked the outer legs using a contrast thread and big machine stitch. They were very tight and I nearly wavered and let them out but I held firm knowing that they would loosen up.

I gave them the ultimate test and cycled to work in them and they were slightly tight on the front thigh when cycling  which was to be expected but other than that no problems.

I seemed to have the usual topstitching stresses, thread getting tangled at the start of stitching & tension problems but black on black is harder to unpick than orange on blue denim! I used the Gutermann extra strong as usual as even though the thread would be colour matched I wanted the thicker raised look. On this pair I only flat felled the back rise seam which I think is a must with cycling.

I found the fly slightly hard work this time. With the black sometimes I couldn’t see what was what.

fly openiing

slightly creased as I have been wearing a couple of days and just took them off to photo. The jeans zipper is from eBay, I’m not too impressed of it’s quality and will stick to the YKK ones in the future


The fabric was from eBay and was just the right weight at 10z. 98% cotton with 2% lycra at £6.99 metre.

I’m wearing it with a new Sewaholic Renfrew with a cowl neck which is exactly the same as this one I made last year but with a brighter stripe. The fabric was £4.95 a metre from Leon’s in Chorlton. It’s a straightforward easy make with all seams sewn on the overlocker.

My next make is for World Book Day, 3rd March. Luckily this year the school gave us a months notice to which I said to my children “don’t go telling me the week before that you want to be ….”. My daughter settled on Dorothy straight away and it’s me who’s been slow at doing anything. All items have arrived from eBay for the Dorothy outfit so I just need to get cracking and have it ready for next Thursday.

dorothy world book day

My 4 year old couldn’t make up his mind and rejected all my suggestions. So it’ll be Harry from ‘Harry and His Bucketful of Dinosaurs’ (again). We have a small bucket and we have dinosaurs.

Harry and his bucketful of  dinosaurs



Pauline Alice Carme Blouse

Sewing in 2016 didn’t really start until 1st February for me. Not being on a ready to wear fast meant I’m not putting myself under pressure to get things made. It’s not like I’ve gone crazy since packing it in, I bought two tops back in October and since then 2 pairs of M&S pyjamas. I had cut out a pair of black jeans in January but put them on hold as I didn’t have quite the right topstitching thread. So whilst waiting for thread to arrive I moved on to making a top. I had a piece of floral printed viscose that I bought a year ago to make a pussy bow blouse but wasn’t too sure of the fabric and I had only worn the pussy bow blouse I’d previously made twice before so did I need another one?

carme blouse

I browsed all the patterns on the Backstitch website and found the Pauline Alice Carme Blouse. I hadn’t heard of this pattern company before. I was attracted to the pin tucks on the front yoke. I was still planning to use up the viscose but I then had a chance to visit Leon’s Fabrics in Chorlton and bought two pieces of lightweight cotton, lighter than quilting weight but not quite lawn. Both are by Rose and Hubble which I remember as being quite an expensive brand when I was younger. Both were reasonably priced at £4.95 a metre. At the same time I bought some orange and grey marl striped jersey, again £4.95 which I plan to make up in to a cowl neck Renfrew, just like this black and grey one.

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Pauline Alice Carme Blouse Pattern and fabrics from Leon’s in Chorlton

I chose to make up the red and white polka dot fabric first. It’s quite a straight forward make and there is a really good sew-a-long on the Pauline Alice website. There are short videos which clearly show you how to make the blouse. I followed the one for inserting the front placket.

I didn’t toile this garment first and although I’m pleased with the finished garment there are a few things I’d like to sort out for next time.
When I attached the main body to the pin-tucked front yoke the sides of the main body extended further up past the shoulder of the yoke. I did try to ease some of this out but I still…. STOP, before I post this I thought I’d better measure the pattern and have just realised when I traced the pattern I didn’t cut out properly and had an extra 2.5cm going past the shoulder line, I can just see the faint mark where I should have cut. This also explains why I found there was no ease in the front armhole! So no problem with the pattern here, just my tracing.

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my fault completely!

I didn’t have to cut any length from the sleeves which was odd as I normally have to with being 5’3″. So if you are any taller or have longer arms double check before cutting out. I also find the cuffs snug, snug so you have to undo the buttons to take it off and I can’t pull the cuff up over my Fitbit to check on my step count.

I wore the blouse out immediately after I’d sewn on the buttons, it fits well looks good tucked in or left out, sleeves up or down.

carme blouse front


The pattern was £12.50 and comes in a light cardboard folded cover that opens up, so no having to stuff the pattern back in. The pattern is printed on paper rather than tissue and you get and instruction booklet in 3 languages (the other two being French & Spanish). You can also buy a pdf download of the pattern. I’m still not sure why I like to buy the paper pattern rather than saving a few pounds and getting the download instead. Actually my workplace are clamping down on unnecessary printing and I wouldn’t want to be caught printing off 15 pages of a sewing pattern.

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Carme Pattern booklet and cover